In 2011 John Kasich released his first budget and surprised local government officials with massive cuts to the Local Government Fund (LGF). Cities, counties and townships have relied on the LGF to help pay for police, fire, EMS and other services since 1935. The result was staff and service reductions for vital local services as well as a huge jump in local tax levies.
Kasich’s latest budget continues those cuts. If passed as is, Ohio’s local governments will see a loss of nearly $1 Billion by the end of the Governor’s term.
As we discussed earlier this week, fire departments around Ohio have been hit hard by the cuts. But as we’ll see in a second, law enforcement agencies may have been hit even harder.
Jay McDonald, President of the Ohio Fraternal of Police, told Plunderbund that he has been “pleading with the Ohio Legislature and Governor Kasich to not only stop cutting local government funds” but also to restore earlier cuts.
“We know from experience that cutting local government funds leads to a decrease in public safety,” said President McDonald. “Police and fire make up about two thirds of municipal budgets. Almost all of that is in manpower. Cuts lead to less manpower, less manpower leads to less safety. Everyone knows that!”
Everyone “knows that”, it seems, except John Kasich and his budget team.
Below we’ve compiled a short list of some of the many law enforcement staff reductions resulting from Kasich’s budget cuts. This is just a sample. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list.
- East Cleveland: laying off 10 officers and 10 civilian staff
- Perkins Township (Erie County): laid off 3 officers
- Garfield Heights: lost 14 officers out of 62 to attrition
- Cheviot: 2 officers lost through attrition
- Fairborn: 3 officers positions not filled
- Green Township: 2 officers/1 seargent not filled
- Middletown: 3 clerks/6 corrections not filled
- Portsmouth: 6 unfilled positions
- Tiffin: down 6 officers (Out of 31) and 3 civilian positions
- Boardman Township (Mahoning County): lost 19 officers to attrition – new levy allowed some hired back
- University Heights (Cuyahoga County): down 4 officers
- The Village of Cleves: lost 2 officers
- Cincinnati: Down 154 Officers since late 2009
- Northwood: 3 vacant positions
- Miami Township (Clermont County) 3 unfilled officer openings
- Marion County Sheriff: laid off half of their deputies in 2012
- Lucas County Sheriff: 30 officers laid off
- Lake County Sheriff: down 55 since 2009
- Summit County Sheriff: down 60 full and part time officers and staff
- Darke County: 5 Corrections officers lost attrition
- University of Cincinnati: 6 officers and 3 lieutenant positions not filled
It’s important to note that this list does not include the many public safety positions that have been saved by local residents voting for police and fire levies – residents who were forced to choose between being less safe or paying more local taxes. It also doesn’t include law enforcement budget holes temporarily plugged by federal dollars.
With Kasich’s continued cuts many locals have already warned there will be more public safety layoffs. Cincinnati has warned of huge staff cuts. So has the Franklin County Sheriff. The Lawrence County Sheriff has warned that he may have to cut more staff, close a jail and may have to reduce 911 service to unsafe levels or possibly eliminate it all together.
“Police departments all across Ohio had already cut out anything that could be cut due to the economic downturn,” said Jay McDonald. “The Kasich budget of 2011 put them into a hole they could not get out of without cuts to personnel.”
If Kasich’s 2013 budget passes with the current cuts to locals, expect law enforcement agencies around the state to be forced into more layoffs and staff reductions.